Ok. So I was thinking about games like Diablo (I think Diablo did this) or Rogue Galaxy (I’m reasonably certain that Rogue Galaxy didn’t actually do this) wherein different healing things had different names based on how potent they were. Like, you’d have Health or Mana Concoctions for really shitty healing, then Health or Mana Potions, then Health or Mana Elixirs, and so on.
It’s a pretty basic gameplay mechanic. It lets the player tell at a glance how effective the thing will be while keeping the naming convention the same. And like most gameplay mechanics, you really can’t look at it too closely and hope that it’ll hold up under any sort of critical scrutiny. Doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun with it though.
Tangent – did you know that the FDA has a specific definition for ice cream? That link is super intimidating, but the gist of it is if the food doesn’t have the right ratio of ingredients it can’t legally be called ice cream. That’s why you can find dirt cheap cartons of the delicious sounding “frozen dairy dessert” if you look hard enough.
In a self-aware enough setting (Order of the Stick, GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, Zork, etc etc) I could see there being some sort of regulatory board for potions. Enchanters would have to get their product inspected to label it as an elixir and such. Good stuff.
You could get some solid adventure hooks out of this – infiltrating the FDA (or whomever – let’s call them the Magical Inspection Bureau – MIB won’t get my ass sued) for some wizard to rig the tests, or there could be tampered-with potions, sort of a fantasy version of the Tylenol Poison Scare from the 80s.
Anyway, this is just a rambling idea – mostly wanted to post something since my depression is now more background noise than current. Sooner or later I should actually get some kind of design for this website. Maybe this week?